How Students Can Cope with Stress Amid COVID-19

  • March 25th, 2020

As details emerge and continue to change with COVID-19, many people are experiencing feelings of worry and anxiety. It’s important to manage stress during this unprecedented crisis.

UPDATE: The UA Counseling Center will have services available, with a number of changes to accommodate UA’s current limited business operations status. If you are in crisis or experiencing an emergency, please call 205-348-3863 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., to speak with a counselor immediately.

For students experiencing urgent or crisis situations after hours, please contact UAPD at 205-348-5454 and ask to speak with the on-call counselor. For students new to the Counseling Center who are interested in services, please call to discuss options with a therapist. Visit the Counseling Center website (https://counseling.sa.ua.edu/covid-19-counseling-updates/) to find more information about current services.

Self-care

“Self-care is vital,” said Dr. Sha-Rhonda Green, assistant professor of social work at UA. “We have to take an active role in protecting our own well-being.”

There are simple things students can do to take care of themselves, such as keep a daily routine, sleep well, eat healthy, take breaks and exercise, according to Green.

“It’s OK to acknowledge that this is a stressful time,” said Green. “It’s OK to grieve the loss that many are feeling during this time. And it’s OK to feel disappointment. But it’s also important to focus on the things that you can control. Stay in close contact with your professors for support.”

Green suggests students focus on the positive things that are coming out of this situation, and to limit social media consumption. “Our thoughts affect our behavior,” she said.

Other ways to cope with stress during this time:

  • Know the Facts. The University of Alabama provides campus updates at healthinfo.ua.edu. The CDC provides accurate updates at cdc.gov, as does the Alabama Department of Public Health at alabamapublichealth.gov.
  • Keep it in perspective. Reducing the time spent following media coverage can limit worry. Be informed, but take breaks to focus on positive things and things within your control.
  • Guard against false assumptions. Just because someone coughs does not mean they have COVID-19. Be self-aware about the risk of characterizing community members.
  • Practice healthy habits. Wash your hands. Get a flu shot if you have not had one. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm. Avoid touching your face. Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Seek help, if needed. If you feel overwhelming worry, seek professional mental health support. See the update at the top of this post for information on how to contact the Counseling Center.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.